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Field Notes on Science and Nature
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Field Notes on Science and Nature

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Pioneering a new niche in the study of plants and animals in their native habitat, Field Notes on Science and Nature allows readers to peer over the shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions.

What did George Schaller note when studying the lions of the Serengeti? Wha
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Hardcover, 297 pages
Published June 3rd 2011 by Harvard University Press (first published May 15th 2011)
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Sher
Book 47 2012 Reading Challenge -- Twelve prestigious scientists in various fields explain how and why they keep field journals. Some also sketch. The volume is so valuable to me, because it has so many ideas for keeping field journals. Although slanted slightly toward the professional, amateur naturalists will find this volume helpful. Each scientist also shares pages from their journal, so the reader can see an amazing array of approaches to field note taking. In the end, it seems to me that ta ...more
Melody
I loved the reproduced journal pages, which were absolutely riveting. Twelve different field notebooks, twelve different ways of seeing the world, twelve different ways of doing science. Brilliant.

The text was less interesting. Some of the scientists talked about their own personal journaling processes, which was great. Some of them nattered on about their chosen fields, or how I should keep my own personal field notebooks. Some of them were good writers, some of them were not.

The concept is wo
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Simon Dobson
An absolutely delightful exploration of the art and science of scientific field notebooks, why and how to keep them. Packed with practical insight and also with images from practitioners' own notebooks. Some of the anecdotes make the book worthwhile on their own: the one that stood out for me was Thomas Jefferson's devotion to weather observation being so intense that he made four entries on the day he was also drafting the American Declaration of Independence.

A lot of the pleasure comes form th
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Menno
This was a one-of-a-kind book. What a great idea to celebrate that long naturalist's tradition of making notes in the field. The passion of the well-selected authors is tangible, and they manage to conjure up images of those best of times: ones spent in the field. It made me rethink my own note-keeping habits and cherish the small row of field books I keep in my office.
Zerah
invaluable for nature enthusiasts and field scientists alike

If you are a nature enthusiast or a field scientist, the stories, methods and descriptions in the volume speak greatly towards preserving our moment in historical science observation and the importance of keeping field notes of our observations.
Ninakix
I liked this book just for making me think about something that I don't normally think about. One of the things it made me think about is the degree to which scientists think of field notes as being supplementary to data, and that those observations and experiences may we worthwhile to generations of future scientists. What I find interesting is that most professions, especially web designers, don't think this way about their own work. Other than that, the illustrations are beautiful, and I real ...more
Alan Williams
This is one of my most memorable books of 2011, both in terms of the book itself, but also the memories it evoked of field work that I have been involved in, and the field notebooks that I still have to this day, although I think many of them are still in an attic somewhere.

This book covers all sorts of field "journals" from the traditional paper and pen/cil to digital and computerised. It includes insights, including reproductions of the journals themselves, from some very famous and eminent na
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Sara G
This book is a great introduction to the different perspectives that scientists have on their field notes. What it is NOT is a mostly graphical work showing those field notes. Don't get me wrong, this book is beautiful, even its delicate, off-white pages of just text. The focus is on the personal narratives about working in the field, however, not on the artistic side of field notes.

There is a great essay by Jenny Keller called "Why Sketch?" that provides advice on keeping a more aesthetically p
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Lichia
The first half of the essays in this collection were delightful, philosophical, and provided a wonderful journey into the minds of brilliant scientists through their field notes and sketchbooks. Should this book have ended here, I would have rated it 4 to 5 stars. Unfortunately, in the second half the essays became progressively drier, and should have really been published as separate collection of essays entitled "Methods of keeping scientific field notes". This might be useful reading for thos ...more
Ed
This is an anthology of commentary on the role of field notes and field notebooks in contemporary science. Each chapter is written by a different scientist. Most of the chapters are interesting to a lay reader with an interest in science. A small number of them are very specific to working scientists in a field similar to the author. Each chapter contains images of the notes of the author or the notes of famous naturalists from history.
Kit
Sometimes it feels like every inch of the planet we live on has already been dug up and explored in exhaustive detail. But it's just not true. Part of being present in the world is to observe the things in your own backyard, to ask questions, to interact with science and nature, and document it all in a field notebook.

This book has some of the most beautiful illustrations I have ever seen.
Rebekah
Pretty much a must read for anyone who likes nature and observing, from those just doing it for fun to those doing it as a career. Lots of different input from lots of different people and backgrounds all talking about how they keep their info straight. Lots of tips on how to organize, what to have in the book and what materials you might need. Great book.
Jo
I found this book about botanical field books extremely interesting covering areas ornithology, entomology, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, botany and animal behavior. Nice illustrations of different field book entries.
Rift Vegan

Enjoyed this book. I especially liked the "Why Sketch?" essay by Jenny Keller, a real artist. (heh) and the "Note-Taking for Pencilophobes" was also so interesting, by a guy who developed his own database software.

Skylinebal
Wonderful homework as I prepared for my next session of "Wenatchee Naturalists".
Chapters written by 12 leading conservation biologists...all my heros!
Rachael
diverse perspectives, helped me think about my own scientific note taking, gave me ideas for improvement
Millie
An excellent book, and one I think should be on the reading list of every budding Natural History student.
Anush Shetty
an excellent book on the art of writing field notes.
Jace Stansbury
Excellent!! Must Read.
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